Clothing-Optional Resorts Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
Wanna travel with a lighter suitcase? Here's an unconventional solution: leave your clothes at home. The nude vacation (sometimes referred to as a "nakation"—a portmanteau of naked vacation) is in vogue. More Americans than ever are shedding their shorts and shirts to travel in the buff at clothing-optional resorts and nude beaches. According to the American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR), there are more than 270 clothing-optional clubs and resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and beyond. Globally, nude recreation is a $400 million industry.
If you have questions about tripping around a resort in your birthday suit, well, happy birthday—here are the answers to 10 common first-timer concerns.
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What do I do when I need to sit down?
Rule numero uno for anyone on a nude vacation: always have a beach towel on hand. Before you park your tush in any common area, lay your towel down first.
Will I be gawked at?
Probably not. Nudists are famously welcoming to people of all shapes, sizes, and sexual orientations. If anyone leers or otherwise makes you uncomfortable, alert the staff pronto.
Do I have to be naked everywhere I go on my nude vacation?
"Clothed when practical, nude when appropriate": most nude resorts (and all the best parties) follow this mantra, says the AANR.
At Hidden Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, you're expected to be nude throughout the duration of your stay, except (thankfully) when you're at the fitness center.
Can I bring my camera/cell phone/laptop/iPad?
Whether you're at a nude beach or a resort, most places adhere to a strict no-electronics policy. Some will allow a cell phone or laptop for business purposes if you tape a business card over the camera lens. But your best bet is to leave the gadgets in your hotel room and just bask in your own nakedness.
Can I go to the resort's restaurant in the buff?
You might have to cover up when dining. It varies from resort to resort, but some require guests to be clothed inside a restaurant to avoid a health code violation. It's a good idea to call first and ask management.
Can I visit a nude resort if I'm single?
It depends. Most resorts cater primarily to couples, so singletons might be turned away at the gate. Some properties have a quota for solo travelers. If that's you, be sure to check with your individual resort and book ahead of time.
Can I be affectionate with my partner?
Don't do anything in public on a nude vacation you wouldn't do fully clothed. "A nude environment does not have any special sexual connotation," writes the AANR. If anyone's behavior offends you, report it to the staff immediately.
What if I run into someone I know?
Party's over! Looks like you'll have to move to a new city. Seriously, though, this is the beauty of a nude vacation—everyone's naked, together. Everyone's on equal footing. It's like a session of Congress, but with a lot more bare butts.
What if it's my time of the month?
The clothing-optional Desert Sun Resort advises women to "cut the [tampon's] string short so it does not show, or use Instead"—a flexible cup that is worn internally.
Any other tips for first-timers?
Don't forget the sunscreen! You'll likely be exposing some skin that hasn't seen the light of day since you were in diapers.
Lastly, an important note: pay attention to your surroundings! If you're strolling a nude beach, be aware of where the clothing-free beach ends and the regular one begins, or else that wholesome family from Munster, Indiana might get more than they bargained for on their summer vacation.